Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein, Founding Director of By The Rivers

  • Staff member at Hineni: A Center for Adult Jewish Learning and Contemplative Practices, and is Rabbi in Residence at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.  He strives to make learning accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. For two years, Rabbi Shavit-Lonstein was rabbi of the Tri-City Jewish Center, in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. He was then the rabbi at Temple of Aaron, St. Paul MN from 2002 to 2014. He currently works at the Apple Store in Ridgedale mall, repairing relationships and iPhones. (Click here for more.)

Ramona Kitto Stately, Member Santee Sioux Nation, Artist, Dakota Educator

  • Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation. She has a BA in Dakota Art and Culture. She also coordinated and directed the Success for the Future Indian Education Program ISD279 Osseo Area School District since 2004.  She is an artist who makes Plains style moccasins and believes that this is not only a traditional shoe covering, but a representation of the path we choose to walk in this life. “As indigenous people today, we have to walk in two worlds and be successful in both.  If we use our native identity and traditional values as a foundation, we can walk forward into the future with confidence and success.” It is a healing journey for all Minnesotans. 

Ken Keiyu Ford, Lay TeacherClouds in Water Zen Center

  • Long curious about the contemplative aspect of religious practice, an aspect not well supported in the protestant sphere of his upbringing, Ken acquired a strong interest in Zen Buddhist practice early in his college years. A mentor among his professors along with the writing of Alan Watts, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and other pioneers, supported the effort. Coming to Minnesota in the 1970s for work in his professional field of city planning, Ken found an opportunity to study with the Japanese Zen master Dainin Katagiri; his spiritual roots sank deeply in the contemplative ground of Zen. He has done residential practice at Tassajara monastery and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California. Ken is a lay teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul, does volunteer work for the Nonviolent Peaceforce, and participates in interfaith dialogue. 

Camille J. Gage, musician, artist and activist

  • Her current project is I AM WATER, a long-term socially engaged artwork that addresses our relationship to the Earth’s freshwater. She is also on the national coordinating committee for the Nibi Walk project, an ongoing series of indigenous-led, extended ceremonies to pray for our water. Walks have occurred along the Mississippi, Ohio, and St. Louis, Chippewa, James, and Cuyahoga Rivers.  Every step is taken in prayer and gratitude for water, our life giving force. 

Rev. Dr. John Marboe,  Pastor, Humanities Professor and Laborer

  • John Marboe holds advanced degrees in mythological studies and theology but regards himself as a lifelong student of mythological and biblical reflection. An ordained ELCA minister, freelance writer, and convener of interfaith dialogues, John grounds himself by conducting funerals for persons without a church and by hauling trash for a St. Paul garbage company. He blogs at Reverend  Doctor Garbageman.

Rabbi Sharon Stiefel, Mayim Rabim Congregation and Sholom Johnson Hospice 

  • Rabbi Sharon Stiefel received her rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in 1990. She is also a Licensed Graduate Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition to her part-time position at Mayim Rabim, Rabbi Stiefel also serves as the Rabbi/Spiritual Counselor for Sholom Johnson Hospice at Sholom. Rabbi Stiefel spent 18 years of her rabbinate serving students on campus – 13 years as the Associate Director at the University of Minnesota Hillel and before that in similar positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Grinnell College.  More recently, Rabbi Stiefel was Jewish Education Director at the St Paul Jewish Community Center and the interim Rabbi at Shir Tikvah Congregation. While with the St. Paul JCC, her course on spiritual autobiography was recognized with the national Jewish Community Centers Association Exemplary Award.  In June 2015, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the RRC in honor of her 25 years of service in the rabbinate.